Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Report of the Week: Distributed energy systems.

This weeks report of the week is "Decentralising Power; an energy revoloution". If you have ever wondered how environmentalists can claim we dont need nuclear and can still cut back on coal then look no futher this is the report for you.

Basically the current grid system is enormously wastefull, it only transfers electricity after all. And electricity is usually only around 35-45% of the energy put in to the system. If the remaining output, heat, was captured you could reasonably get efficeincies approaching 95% with the only losses being those of transmission. But this isnt pie in the sky, it is popular in several european countries.

If we make our homes and buisnesses more efficeint, then use more local heating systems along with micro-renewables we can cut the amount we spend on energy, this is not an expensive option, just a diffrent one!

A previous article on the subject can be found here.

postscript; Climate Change, ReportA, RenewablesA


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At 3:04 AM, Blogger ben said...

Microgrids are getting a lot of attention. The basic idea is that a small community of homes would each be on a microgrid, which is then networked to multiple other microgrids. If 1 microgrid fails, then it's no big deal because each microgrid is connected to a couple others. This means much more decentralized power sources, which is good but MIGHT also be more expensive. The more decentralized you are, the more efficient you can be because you can use the waste heat, and the more efficeint you are the cheaper it is. I would doubt very much though that it would be cheaper than today...actually, it's impossible that a decentralized system would be cheaper than what we have today.

Another big part of the microgrids (well, at least from what I envision), is that they would be partially powered by the waste of each home, which would be turned into biogas and then converted into electricity (hey, I bet they could get a lot of CO2 credits for this as well!). Initially we would have an IC engine fueled with the biogas, but some day it would be a solid oxide fuel cel since they are more efficient at converting biogas.

Also, each home would have a small wind generator and possibly solar.


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